Frederick Loewe

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Frederick (Fritz)[1] Loewe (English pronunciation: /ˈloʊ/,[2] originally Friedrich Löwe German pronunciation: [ˈløːvə]; June 10, 1901  – February 14, 1988), was an Austrian-American composer. He collaborated with lyricist Alan Jay Lerner on the long running Broadway musicals My Fair Lady and Camelot, with book and lyrics by Lerner, both of which were made into films.



Loewe was born in Berlin, Germany, to Viennese parents Edmond and Rosa Loewe. His father was a noted Jewish operetta star who performed throughout Europe and in North and South America; he starred as Count Danilo in the original production of The Merry Widow.

Frederick Loewe grew up in Berlin and attended a Prussian cadet school from the age of five until he was thirteen. At an early age Loewe learned to play piano by ear and helped his father rehearse, and he began composing songs at age seven. He eventually attended a music conservatory in Berlin, one year behind virtuoso Claudio Arrau, and studied with Ferruccio Busoni and Eugene d'Albert. He won the coveted Hollander Medal awarded by the school and gave performances as a concert pianist while still in Germany. At 13, he was the youngest piano soloist ever to appear with the Berlin Philharmonic.[3]

In 1924, his father received an offer to appear in New York City, and Loewe traveled there with him, determined to write for Broadway. This proved to be difficult, and he took other odd jobs, including cattle punching, gold mining and prize fighting.[3] He eventually found work playing piano in German clubs in Yorkville and in movie theaters as the accompanist for silent films.

Loewe began to visit the Lambs Club, a hangout for theater performers, producers, managers, and directors. There, he met Alan J. Lerner in 1942. Their first collaboration was a musical adaptation of Barry Connor's farce The Patsy, called Life of the Party, for a Detroit stock company. It enjoyed a nine-week run and encouraged the duo to join forces with Arthur Pierson for What's Up?, which opened on Broadway in 1943. It ran for 63 performances and was followed two years later by The Day Before Spring.

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